Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Footpod to review Zwift as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Wintertime is here and for many of us and that makes it all the more hard to get outside and get a run in. This is the time of year where a lot of us, reluctantly, turn to the indoors and the dreaded treadmill, or the dreadmill, as I like to call it.
The treadmill is not my favorite but I also don’t like running in the frigid cold. It’s a conundrum and thus, Winter is really hard for me to keep my motivation for running and exercise. I’ve learned a few tricks to keep me on the treadmill for a decent run and now I have another trick up my sleeve… Zwift!
Zwift is a digital platform that matches your speed on the treadmill to an avatar of you in a virtual world. You can run on your own, touring the virtual world of Watopia (the Zwift world), while other people, real people, are also running or biking in the same world. You can also join a run club or group run.
What you need:
-A treadmill (nothing special needed)
-A foot pod (Zwift makes their own) or supported blue tooth treadmill (like these)
-A device to connect to Zwift (Computer, iPhone or Ipad – right now Zwift is not compatible with Android devices.)
-Optional: a separate device or phone to connect to the companion app, which makes it easier to chat while doing a group run.
The first time I tried Zwift was for the BibRave 5k group run. All I had to do was to sign up for the event by clicking it and then when it was time, you join the event and it stages you at the virtual starting line while everyone else pops in. When it’s time to start, you start running on your treadmill and your avatar runs your same pace in the virtual world. If anyone else is running your pace, you’ll see them next to you or if they’re faster, you’ll see them pass you, just like in the real world. You can wave to them or give them a thumbs up while they run past. It was pretty cool to run with fellow BibRave pros from across the country.
The second time I tried it, I just picked from the pre-made courses/worlds (I chose running through a volcano) in the Zwift app and did my own thing. There were other people running and biking at the same time and you would see them zip by in real time.
My footpod and the iPhone I was using paired really well; I had no problems (I know some of the BibRave pros some difficulty getting their footpod to stay connected while in the run). I do really hope Zwift will soon be compatible with Andriod products. I use an Android phone and tablet and the only way I could connect to Zwift was on my boyfriend’s tiny iPhone. I think having a larger device that I could bring to the rec (like a tablet) would make Zwift even more enjoyable. Zwift does work with a computer, but I thought that would be really weird to bring my MacBook Pro to the rec center and set it in front of the treadmill. 😛
I think Zwift is really on to something. I think it is really cool that you can organize a group run with people from across the country and actually run with them at your own speed. This could mean meeting new people, spending time with friends and family that don’t live near you, and even connecting like-minded communities from around the world.
Besides connecting people, I also love the idea that this brings new motivation for running and exercise. Like I said in the beginning, I have such a hard time getting outside for a run in the cold months and the treadmill never sounds appealing either. Zwift takes the dreadmill and makes it fun (or at least bearable for those that REALLY hate the treadmill). Instead of counting down the tenth of each mile, I spent the time watching my little avatar running through different, beautifully crafted scenes.
Right now, the Zwift Run platform is free. Zwift did start as a cycling platform and I know they have a monthly membership but I’m not entirely sure what is included. I don’t know if the run platform will eventually move to a paid membership but I definitely think that it’s worth the cost of a footpod to give some more motivation to running on a treadmill.
I know there are a ton more features that I have yet to discover, but I’m excited to have this in my so-called “bag of tricks” to keep me motivated this winter.
Visit Zwift online to learn more.
Get a footpod! Use coupon code BibRave15 to save 15% (available for the first 1000 sold).
See what the other BibRace Pros think: